Distribution of Information on Meningococcal Disease

The 2005 Washington State legislature enacted a new law to educate parents and students about the dangers of Meningitis for children, and to further inform parents about the availability of vaccines to prevent the occurrence of this deadly disease. This information is being provided to you as a result of that legislation. Please note sources for additional information at the end of this article.

Students are required to receive a series of immunizations before attending public school. However, under current law, students are not required to get immunizations for meningococcal meningitis. Health care providers--school nurses-- are required to report occurrences of meningococcal meningitis to the local heath department. During the 2005 legislative session, they passed a new law requiring school districts to provide information to parents regarding the disease and its vaccine at the beginning of every school year.

Beginning Sept. 2005, districts are required to distribute information to parents and guardians of students in the sixth grade and above--EVERY YEAR. Information required to be distributed includes, meningococcal causes and symptoms, how meningococcal disease is spread, the availability of a vaccine and the places where parents and guardians may obtain additional information. The dept. of health will include meningococal educational resources in the annual immunization program mailing to schools. An information sheet on What you need to Know about Meningococcal Vaccines is available by visiting http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/Immunize/meningococcal.htm and then clicking on Meningococcal-Vaccine Information Statement (Revised 4/4/05).

Below are other website addresses with additional information:

http://www.chop.edu/vaccine/images/vec_mening_tear.pdf (two-sided flyer)